Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Disability Law and the EEOC GC Nominee

Yesterday, the President nominated Ronald Cooper to be the next General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the fair employment laws. Cooper is a longtime management lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson. His firm bio notes some extensive experience he has had on the defense side of ADA issues:

A particular focus of Mr. Cooper's practice has involved the application of employment discrimination laws to employee benefits in various forms. He litigated some of the principal cases involving challenges under Title VII and the ADEA to the design and administration of employee health, disability and retirement plans.

Recently he has defended employers and insurers against claims that limitations on benefits for mental/nervous conditions in long-term disability plans violated Title I (employment) and Title III (public accommodations) of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He successfully represented defendants in district court litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He also represented either a party or an amicus curiae in the DC, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits and in opposition to petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

His listed publications include the following:

District of Columbia Bar Task Force, Report on the Effect of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Employer-Sponsored Health Plans (Aug. 1993).

Employee Benefits: A Defense Perspective, Appendix to Chapter 13 Employee Benefits, in Burgdorf, Disability Discrimination in Employment Law (Bureau of National Affairs, 1995).

EEOC Guidelines on Psychiatric Disabilities Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Matthew Bender Continuing Legal Education Program (June 5, 1998).

Defending Employee Benefit Claims Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Address at May 6, 2001 - The American Association of Health Plans 12th Annual Managed Care Law Conference (May 6-8, 2001).

Legal Challenges to Limits on Mental/Nervous Benefits in Disability Plans, Address at October 27, 2002 - The Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting, Panel: Managing the Mental/Nervous Risk in Disability Insurance.


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